«Challenges» and «Responses» in Russian History: the First Half of the 19th Century

«Challenges» and «Responses» in Russian History:
the First Half of the 19th Century

Nefedov S.А.

Dr. Sci. (Hist.), Leading researcher, Institute of History and Archeology, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Prof., Ural Federal University, Ekaterinburg, Russia hist1@yandex.ru

ID of the Article: 7698

The article is written within the project «Russian Modernizations: Historical Challenges and Mechanisms for their Overcoming» implemented within the framework of the UrB RAS program «Socio-economic and humanitarian problems of society development».

For citation:

Nefedov S.А. «Challenges» and «Responses» in Russian History: the First Half of the 19th Century. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2019. No 6. P. 86-96


The «Strategy of the Scientific and Technological Development of the Russian Federation» considers the tasks facing the state in the term of «challenge and answers». The topic of challenges and answers that Russia has encountered is not new and is not something specific for the 21st century. In previous articles, the challenges that Russia faced in the 17–18th centuries were analyzed. The article shows that the development of Russia in the first half of the 19th century was impacted by challenges posed by the powers of Europe. At the beginning of the century, the main was the revolutionary French challenge of both military and ideological character. In the military sphere, the answer to it was given by mastering the French tactics of the columns. However, political reforms were blocked by the traditionalist reaction. Also, in the first half of the 19th century, the challenges of the previous period persisted. One of these was the cultural challenge of France; this challenge sounded with renewed vigor after Russian officers saw Paris in 1814. The nobility wished to live in Russia like in Paris. This caused a new consumer boom. The duties of serfs were increased two to three times to pay for competition in luxury. Excessive duties brought the peasants to starvation; cholera joined the famine; an increase in mortality caused demographic stagnation. Ultimately, the challenge took a more dangerous form of food insecurity. Another challenge emerging as early as the 18th century was a challenge from the «regular states» of Central Europe, Prussia and Austria. The construction of a regular state meant the creation of a bureaucratic absolute monarchy regulating the life of society. This was the goal of Nicholas I. However, although the emperor had achieved considerable success, he did not feel strong enough to eliminate serfdom.

Russian Federation; scientific and technological development strategy; Toynbee; Challenges and Responses; historical experience; 18th century; import of institutions; import of technologies


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Content No 6, 2019